Here in the UK we have been celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Celebrations have been held over the last 3 days; with a magnificent pageant on the Thames, an open air concert then a service of Thanksgiving followed by the traditional balcony apperance and wave and fly past from the Red Arrows and an assortment of vintage aircraft.
In the few days of run up to the Jubilee I was in Dublin, and had a rest from the endless red white and blue, and came back to it all refreshed; and very excited about some wonderful Irish Food which I shall write about shortly.
After the heat of last week; the weather has not been kind, but with typical British resolve the party has gone on, although I have chosen to partake via my telly (I did hear the fireworks from Buckingham Palace from my flat some 3 and a half miles to the West.)
After somewhat over indulging in Ireland, I am in need of some simpler, healthier, less calorific food, so this quick lunchtime pasta, a twist in the classic Greek Salad was perfect.
My pasta was made from spelt, from Sharpham Park; an organic estate in near Glastonbury in Somerset in the West of England. Owned by Roger Saul, of Mulberry fame, the estate has been farmed organically since 2005.
In a nutshell spelt is great. I have been baking with it for a while and am a huge fan, cakes are somehow “cakier”, biscuits shorter, and bread is delicious and has a nutty taste. Spelt is packed with protein and has a relatively low GI of 30. It is a primitive form of wheat first cultivated about 9000 years ago.
The Sharpham Park pasta is new, made with a traditional Italian pasta machine, the bronze dyes giving the characteristic rough surface that sauce clings to. The pasta dries slowly over 36 hours, preserving that wonderful nutty flavour. Available in 3 varieties, plain Campanelle, and Rigatoni or Conchiglie Tricolore coloured and flavoured by beetroot and spinach. Beautifully presented, a bag would make an excellent token present for any food lover.
My feta was from Yamas, it is mild, but tasty, salty and crumbly. Also in their range is a delicious smoked feta, delicious halloumi burgers (perfect for vegetarians at summer BBQs) and Graviera, a popular Greek cheese which can only be described as a cross between a Mediterranean and mountain cheese. Delicious.
Recipe: Greek “Salad” Pasta
120g / 5oz spelt pasta
Glug olive oil
1 tbs sliced black olives*
1 tbs sliced green olives
1 tbs capers – to taste
1 pickled chilli – chopped finely (optional)
handful cherry tomatoes – quartered
50g / 2oz feta – cubed
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped chives to garnish
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add the pasta.
Fry the olives, capers and chilli in the olive oil. About 2 minutes before pasta is cooked add the quartered tomatoes.
Drain the pasta and return to the pan with a glug of extra virgin olive oil. Add the olives, capers & tomatoes, then the cubed feta and give the pan a good shake to mix.
Serve immediately, garnished with chopped chives.
* Once I open a jar I drain, rinse and free freeze them, as I always forget about the jar at the back of the fridge and they go mouldy.
Thank you to Sharpham Park for the pasta, and Yamas Diary for the Greek cheese.